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Sliding Rock: Natural Fun, Freezing Cold…Can I Go Again?

16 Mar
Sliding Rock in Brevard, NC

And away we go!
Photo courtesy of Flickr

Sliding Rock is even better than it sounds. A naturally-occurring 60-foot waterslide that lands in a seven-foot deep pool. Surrounded by the trees and mountains of Brevard, North Carolina.

Um, is there a limit to how many times I can go on the slide?
No? Perfect.

Sliding Rock, Brevard NC

Watch your step or the water will take you
away before you're even seated!
Photo courtesy of the Sliding Rock website

What’s the Attire?
People wore wading boots, tennis shoes, river shoes, and no shoes at all.

One woman navigated the rocky creek bed while holding a cigarette. It didn’t last two steps.

A Gaggle of Girl Scouts
A Troupe took over the slide and every single girl squealed. They wore goosebumps and life-vests.

Sliding Rock, Brevard NC

Splash!
Photo courtesy of Flickr

This was a delight for my inner child and for my actual self.

What travel experiences have turned out to be perfect for both your young and real-age souls?

Hang Gliding when you’re Afraid of Heights

10 Feb

Hang gliding was amazing! I didn’t do the kind where you run off the mountain – I am afraid of falling on my face, crushing my legs on landing, and being able to fly the thing. No, I didn’t create irrational fears about this at all

Instead I went tandem, which involves a plane.

Forced Itimacy?
The instructor lays on the bottom, suspended. I step into overalls of sorts, that are cushiony and have a built in ledge for my feet. When I stretch out my feet, my while body is now suspended horizontally. I’m free floating above the instructor, so my fear of smothering him was moot.

Up, Up, and Away
We’re connected to a bi-plane that takes us up to 2000 feet then disconnects the cord and we glide on our own for 15 or so minutes.

The ride up was easy and smooth. Just, liftoff. I squealed with joy.

When we disconnected from the plane there was a roller coaster dip, which was fine, but I wasn’t prepared to see the cord disappear and I screamed and then laughed and laughed from the adrenaline.

Smooth Operator
He offered to let me steer the glider. I had an extreme need to hold on, so passed. There are options while in flight: tricks or smooth. I opted for smooth. Surprised?

Earth, Sweet Earth
The landing was spectacularly not terrifying! I know, I should be in sales.

He describes it as an escalator and I told him that’s not romantic enough for something as amazing as this. We descend seven feet forward and one foot down, hence his analogy.

It’s MUCH smoother than a plane landing, which always makes me a bit ill. And it’s literally like floating. It’s a combination of ideal ocean waves where it’s serene and you coast over them (but not that movement, just the sensation of being suspended), and then a new feeling of literally floating in air.

The landing was insignificant. The glider has wheels, so no running required. No chance of a broken leg. Phew.

Where was this Adventure?
Currituck in the Outer Banks of NC with outfitter Kitty Hawk Kites.

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What Goes 25mph and Giggles all the Way?

6 Jan
Attitash Mountain Coaster

This is not a picture of me

There’s a mountain coaster in New Hampshire, you say? I don’t entirely understand what that means, but I’ll be there. I’ll be the one with adrenaline giggles.

Attitash Mountain Resort offers winter-time activities like, well, skiing. They also have other ways to enjoy the rush of going down a slope for those who aren’t skiing-inclined (AKA: me), and that includes a contraption called a mountain coaster.

25 MPH speeds, curves, arcs. And thankfully, the ability to apply the brakes.

Bring it on–I have the need for speed.

But apparently only until the first curve. Holy no sense of control, Batman!

So I braked and learned that it’s actually scarier to take curves slowly. See–you’re suspended at a catywompus angle. Very high. Braking gives you (unwanted) time to examine this precarious situation, and no seatbelt tightened by a teenage employee could make me feel secure.

So I released the brake. Whoosh. Adrenaline giggles.

End scene.

Hot Air Ballooning: Not for Claustraphobics or Agoraphobics

21 Jul

Interior of Hot Air Balloon from the AirInterestingly, hot air ballooning is an activity that is simultaneously not for claustraphobics or agoraphobics. Or if you’re afraid of heights: we were 750 feet in the air.

The balloon weighs 850 lbs (and is 130 feet tall) and the basket 1,850; add the people and it’s 6,000 pounds! All this can be yours for $120,000. The weight and winds dictate speed; we went a mighty 3.5-5 mph for a distance of 6 miles.  It was incredible!

Fellow adventurers: Bobbi, her Dad, and Oded. Adventure location: Northeast Alabama.

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Rafting the New River: Fun, Fear, and Giggles

26 Jun

First the facts and then the fun. (Although learning is fun, yes I know.)

The New River has various stories for why it’s so named, none of them satisfactory in my opinion. It actually flows Northeast (NE) and some folks think people started calling it “new” from reading the direction symbol on the map. Now, you might be thinking, a river flows north? It starts in the mountains of North Carolina and does flow north through West Virginia, where I encountered it. It’s also considered one of the oldest rivers in the world, perhaps second to the Nile.

The river drops 750 feet in 50 miles, vs. the Mississippi which drops 1,428 feet in 2,300 miles. Translation: A LOT of rapids, with major drops at each. Translation: a lot of fun, a bit of fear, and serious skill on the part of our river guide.

The New River is the most advanced river I’ve done. With Class III and IV rapids, we navigated immense boulders and powerful eddies (currents opposite to the river’s current). For context, Class V is the highest you can take people for recreation; beyond that you’re professional. At times the raft felt like it was vertical, but surely it wasn’t. We surfed in the river, with currents actually creating waves!

The New River is also the only one where I didn’t fall out of the raft–in fact no one did. I asked a guide-in-training on our trip what was different about prior rivers that we fell in. She said it wasn’t the river, but our guide. TJ at River Expeditions is spectacular! He kept us safe and taught us about mining along the New River Gorge. He’s the kind of person who makes the difference between a fun trip one that’s truly phenomenal.

These pictures are from fine Flickr users, to give an example of the rapids we experienced. It’s not all action–take a look at the one of rafts floating through the pool.

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